Today I wanted to talk about anchor text. Anchor text for a number of years has been used by Google to determine the relevance of a link and to help determine what the linked to page is about. Hence why it has been a major ranking factor and why lots of backlinks using anchor text “blue widgets” told Google that the page those links pointed to was about “Blue widgets”.
Like anything else, people cottoned on and learned to game the system by building their own links using text that contained their “target” keywords. Anchor text held a lot of weight for a long time but the question now is… how important is anchor text these days since the recent Google updates.
Well, the truth of the matter is that Google and other search engines have become far more advanced than what they used to be. Previously you could use anchor text links to rank a page at the top for near enough any keyword, even if the page had nothing whatsoever to do with the keywords in the links. These were referred to as Google Bombs. Remember wordlwide pranks such as the President George Bush Google bomb where his “presidential page” ranked at the top for an “unpleasant keyword”.
So, What’s Changed?
Well, as I mentioned above… technology is what changed. Google these days are able to analyze a web page far better than what they used to. They can pretty much determine exactly what a page is about along with the quality of that page. It no longer relies on anchor text like it used to do. We can’t trick Google or add more weight to our pages by using anchor text.
So, What Can We Do?
Carry on what we are doing but don’t get “heavy” with the anchor text. As Google doesn;t need us to tell them what our pages are about they are just looking for “votes” rather than descriptive anchor text. This is where Google Penguin came into play. Webmasters and marketers were penalized due to over optimization. These people who in their eyes over stepped the mark and forced “keywords” down Googles throats paid the price.
It’s not necessarilly about the anchor text you use these days but rather the anchor text you “don’t use”. Google looks for links from relevant web pages. If a web page that is trusted and is relevant to another web page and then links to that web page, that backlink will hold some value. Google can see that relevance so it doesn’t need use to over optimize our links and stuff our keywords in our anchor text all the time.
So, What Kind Of Anchor Text Should I be Using?
Google is getting big on branded sites. Brands are seeing a boost in rankings and traffic and Google seems to be taking notice of these brands. My software website is www.andyblackseo.com so a branded anchor text link would be something like…..
- Visit the AndyBlackSEO.com website
- Visit AndyBlackSEO.com here
Also use universal anchors and plenty of them. Universal anchors are natural links that don’t include any specific keywords. Before they might have seemed “anti” SEO but things have changed and as Google can determine the topic of a web page without being dependant on anchor text, it makes sense to use universal anchors within your link building campaigns.
Here are some examples of universal anchor text…
- Click here
- Visit our website
- For more information
- Read more here
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should not include keywords. You should still add these into the mix but reduce the number RIGHT down. Use related words as well and not necessarily the keyword you are targeting.
Recently I recommended a new online application called Anchor Text Turbine. This is a great tool as it gives you a complete anchor text profile for you to use when building links. It can tailor this for new domains, exact match domains, websites that need some link dilution, branded websites and the list goes on. If you bought this product then use it and remember what I have said in this article. If you haven’t then you can check it out here before it closes shortly. SEO is changing and we need to move with the times. Don’t be tempted to insert your keywords into every link you build. Just build content rich, relevant pages and the rest will follow.
A Quick Heads Up
I’m launching some new software on 29th November which will help those who have been affected by the recent Google updates and have seen there sites plummet. If you have websites that you have spent months or years building only to have been penalized by Google then this could “possibly” be your saviour. More news shortly!
Link Building Software Launching Soon
I’ve also been road testing a neat new link building tool that is being released on Tuesday 13th November ’12. I’m going to be working on one or two software tools that will compliment this new software and will be offering them as a bonus along with some kind of training (time permitting). Keep a look out for further news next week.
To your success!